An unpleasant event took place in a restaurant in Pennsylvania on Friday. A ten-year-old boy who was celebrating his birthday with his little sister drank apple juice which had apparently been contaminated with chemicals, so the two children started coughing up blood and were immediately rushed to a hospital.
Richie Zaragoza, 10, and his half-sister Ginaya Mendoza, 4, were at the Star Buffet & Grill in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to celebrate the boy’s birthday. After drinking contaminated apple juice, they were sent to a hospital where they spent a night in an intensive care unit.
Their mother, Virginia Davis, aged 32, declared that Richie, after drinking the juice, started screaming that it burnt him. Ginaya had drunk some juice before Richie, after which she vomited and she complained that her stomach hurt. Her mother did not think this was too serious and she thought that the girl was just feeling sick.
She started worrying when Richie started coughing up blood. She realized that the children felt sick immediately after drinking the juice served in foam cups and she suspected that it might have been contaminated.
When questioned, the restaurant manager Steve Weng declared that he had no idea how the chemicals ended up in the juice. Star Buffet & Grill serves all-you-can-eat Chinese and Japanese dishes, as well as Italian and American meals. The manager declared that they had bought the juice from a local supermarket and he saw no way how it could have become contaminated.
East Lampeter Township police started some tests on the apple juice in the foam cup, but they have made no important discoveries so far. They have only found that the chemicals were of acidic type.
The children were hospitalized immediately at the Hershey Medical Center. Ginaya was released on Sunday, but Richie remains under close medical supervision with severe burns in his mouth and throat. The boy was already suffering from cystic fibrosis and diabetes.
Besides the two children, Miss Davis was at the restaurant with two of her other children, six-year-old Miguel Mercado, and seven-month-old Anthony Mercado, and her brother-in-law, Luis Mercado. Fortunately, no one else had drunk from the contaminated apple juice.
What started as a happy celebration ended up in the worst of ways. Richie still has to remain sedated for a few days and then, hopefully, he will recover and return home to his family.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons